Courtney Schomburg, co-owner of INhance IT! and RESA PRO, is recognized as the only Master Certified Staging Professional in the state of Missouri through the Certified Staging Professional (CSP) education organization. Over the past 9 years INhance IT! has received home merchandising awards from the Home Builders Association of Greater St. Louis and has been featured in publications such as St. Louis Homes and Lifestyles, Ladue News, and the St. Louis Post Dispatch. We asked Courtney to take a moment out of her day to tell us a little more about herself!
Learn More About Courtney:
I am a: perfectionist… also, a coworker with my talented husband, a partner with my selfless Mom and a staging instructor to my creative daughter. I am a MCSP, an Expert Psychological Stager, a color specialist, and a Buyer Trends specialist. One of my favorite accomplishments is that of a CSP Staging Mentor. I really enjoy giving back to the industry. I was instrumental in implementing the St. Louis Chapter of RESA and currently serve as President-elect.
INhance IT! Home Staging is: a family affair! My mom, Liz, and I started the company over 10 years ago. We brought my husband, Jon, on board a few years ago to run the office and do all the stuff we don’t like to do. And our daughter, Olive, loves to spend time at the office staging and setting up “houses” for her princess “friends”. We also have an amazing team of stagers that are like family to us.
We pride ourselves on staying on top of the trends and putting together cohesive design plans for every property It is very important to us that every one of our stagings is something we are proud to put the INhance IT! name on.
I love staging because: it helps buyers envision themselves living in home. Our staging has helped sell over One-Billion dollars of residential real estate in the St. Louis area. And, best of all, I get to play house everyday…how cool is that!
My style is: cleaned lined rustic glam with a twist.
Good staging should: make a buyer say “WOW, this is my dream home and I want to live here”
Right now, I’m obsessed with: using blue as an accent color, big monstera leaves, white everything, bold vases, mixing metals and materials, oversized and accessorized trays, and pillows, pillows and more pillows.
Staging is: one of the most important things a homeowner can do before putting a property on the market.
It’s my goal to: achieve one staging designation a year!
When Liz and I started the business, we had no idea that staging was such a huge deal. We had no formal training, we just took the leap and the rest is history.
It wasn’t until I stumbled across RESA that I realized just how unbelievable this industry really is. I want to learn everything there is to know about staging so that I can continue to improve myself and our company.
My motto is: Just get it done!
I love what I do because: the staging industry is constantly growing and changing. I feel like there is so much to learn and I love there are so many opportunities for growth. I get to start every day with a blank (vacant) canvas and bring my vision to life! Then, I get to have amazing photos taken so that once the house sells (quickly and for more money) I have beautiful images to cherish…and make fun of in ten years😉
Bidding on a staging job. How do you know what to bid? I’ve seen ads on Thumbtack for a 2000 sq ft home Staging 5 rooms and then a 1000 sq foot home with 3 rooms. How do you know what to bid without seeing the property?
– Aimee Musgrave, NY
If you ask 10 successful stagers how to bid a job, you would get 10 distinctly different answers. We have each developed our own system to bid jobs in a manner that works for our company, in our market. Some stagers bid by the square foot (I’m one of those), some stagers bid by the room – they have figured out how much each room will cost them to stage, approximately, and then they add or subtract to get to their bid. Some charge a percentage of the list price, usually 1%-2%. Some assign a rental value to each item in their inventory and add all those costs up to get their inventory rental price, then they add their other costs, including staging fee, outside labor/movers, assistants, gas, truck rental, etc. No matter how you choose, you need to know what your costs are going to be. How much are you paying your assistants per hour? How many hours will they be working (don’t forget packing, loading, installing, loading up the leftovers, unloading at your warehouse or storage, and putting everything away. Then multiply x2 because you are going to have to destage, right? When figuring our your assistants’ cost, don’t forget to add in state and federal employment taxes, workers comp insurance, etc. Then you need to know how much your moving costs are going to be. Are you renting a Uhaul? Don’t forget to multiply x 2 for install and removal. Add in the mileage you will pay, the gas you will put in the truck, etc. Are you using movers? Are you paying hourly or a flat rate? Do you have to pay the mover mileage or a fuel surcharge? Are you going to tip the movers? Then you have to figure in the cost of your inventory.
A good rule of thumb starting out is to figure out what your cost of acquisition is for that item (don’t forget to add in the sales tax you paid if you didn’t buy wholesale, the time to go pick it up or delivery charges, etc.) then charge anywhere from 10%-20% for the rental fee. Add in your staging fee and your company profit. I can’t tell you what you should expect for a company profit, but I will tell you most McDonalds franchises make 6%-12% per year. If you are making 10%+ profit in your staging business, you are a superstar!
If you are renting furniture, I suggest you create a spreadsheet of the items you use most and their cost to rent. When you are bidding a job, figure out how much the furniture you would like to rent will cost. Add in 15% in case the cheap sofa you want to rent is out of stock and you need to go to a more expensive one. If you create this spreadsheet, you won’t have to wait on your sales rep at the furniture rental company to give you a bid. You will be able to create one yourself. Other than the furniture rental and the delivery, all of your other staging expenses will be the same as above.
As someone who has bid on thousands of jobs, I will tell you that you need to figure out a way to bid your jobs that is fast and efficient. If you are taking a lot of time to bid jobs that you may or may not get, you are losing time that you could be spending on marketing, writing blog posts, meeting real estate agents and growing your business. Refer to past jobs that you have done that are similar. Don’t agonize over every lamp or vase or whether or not to charge $10 or $12.50 for a lamp. You will make yourself crazy. Try to come up with packages of accessories that you can use for many situations.
It is freezing out there and you want to sell your home… crazy or what? Who is going to come out in this weather and look at your home?
There has always been a misconception that winter is the worst time to sell your home.
Naturally, many homeowners hear this news and decide to hold out…